A tourist company based in Mullingar, Co Westmeath has ceased trading, leaving several holidaymakers and businesses out of pocket.

Exploring Vacations acts as an intermediary allowing tourists to book accommodation or car hire. It operated by taking payment upfront from people and then paying the provider.

However, it has announced that it is going into liquidation.

Several tourists had contacted RTÉ's Liveline programme saying they had turned up at their accommodation to find the booking had been cancelled. 

Some B&Bs have also said they have been left owed money.

A bus company based in Ennis, C & C Executive Travel, said it is owed around €25,000 and that it also has bookings from the company, running up until November.

The Twelve Hotel in Barna in Galway also said it is owed "a significant sum of money".

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport Robert Troy called on Minister Shane Ross to put in place a response plan to help tourists who have been left stranded.

He said the firm’s collapse was having a significant impact on tour providers, as well as bus and car hire companies.

According to Exploring Vacations' website, it employed 40 people at one stage and operated in Ireland, England, Europe and the US.

In a notice published on its website, the company said it regretted the inconvenience caused to customers.

It said RTS Travel Limited, trading as Exploring Vacations, ceased trading on 13 September and that it will convene a meeting of creditors in October when a liquidator will be appointed.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport said this evening that officials in the department are looking into the circumstances of the situation.

The spokesperson said the department's primary concern was the position of the affected tourists and that Fáilte Ireland had indicated that if visitors need help or information to secure alternative accommodation or services, the tourist information network was more than happy to assist them.

Its call centre number is: 1890 324583.